02/21/14 10:00am
02/21/2014 10:00 AM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO  |  McGann-Mercy football coach Jeff Doroski faces an uncertain future amid speculation that he will be replaced as the team's varsity coach.

Jeff Doroski became the head football coach at Mercy in 2011. (Garret Meade file photo)

I’ll never forget that day in Babylon in the fall of 1998. I was a senior at Mercy High School, playing in one of the final football games of the season, and we were getting our tails kicked in. At halftime the score was so obscenely lopsided that if forfeiting didn’t carry such universal shame, I’m sure most of my teammates would have elected to pack up, get on the bus and head back to Mercy. (more…)

02/21/14 8:00am

McGann-Mercy athletic director Paul Mastronardi, who previously coached at Eastport-South Manor, said he will coach football and lacrosse at Mercy, but would not be the head coach. (The Press News Group/Kerry Monaco photo)

From Mercy High School’s humble beginnings in the 1950s, when 47 students in a temporary building on Roanoke Avenue made up its inaugural class, the small Riverhead school has served as the East End’s home for secondary students seeking a Catholic education in a close-knit community. As the school expanded, eventually becoming Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School in 2002, students there continued to gravitate toward athletics as a part of their education.

The Monarchs, while successful at times in certain sports, have never been known as a powerhouse program.

Administrators now hope to change that.  (more…)

01/30/14 12:23pm
01/30/2014 12:23 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | McGann-Mercy football coach Jeff Doroski faces an uncertain future amid speculation that he will be replaced as the team’s varsity coach.

Word began to spread Wednesday evening among parents and players of the Bishop McGann-Mercy football program that popular varsity coach Jeff Doroski has been fired, the News-Review has learned. (more…)

11/01/13 1:00pm
11/01/2013 1:00 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | McGann-Mercy running back Reggie Archer carries the ball against Babylon Oct. 25, which turned out to be the final game of the season for the Monarchs.

The McGann-Mercy football team’s final game of the regular season tonight at Southampton was abruptly canceled this morning, according to Mercy athletic director John Lonardo and head coach Jeff Doroski.

It was Southampton’s decision to forfeit the game, which will go down as Mercy’s first win of the season.

Lonardo said he received a call last night from Southampton’s athletic director about the possibility of a forfeit. This morning, Mr. Lonardo said he received a call confirming that the game will not be played.

“As far as I know there are no plans to play game at a future date,” he said.

Southampton High School Principal Brian Zahn told The Southampton Press that “there was an incident reported to us that we are investigating and following up on. Because of the nature of our investigation we felt it best that we just forfeit that game.”

The news came as a shock to the Monarchs, who prepared all week to face the 1-6 Mariners and were excited over the prospects of ending the season with a win.

“I feel bad for all the kids involved,” Doroski said. “The seniors miss out on an opportunity to play their last high school football game.”

Word began to spread among the players this morning via text messages and phone calls, Doroski said. The team plans to meet at 3 p.m. today for a final meeting and to collect equipment. Doroski said they might take the players out for a night of bowling and pizza.

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” he said. “I don’t know exactly what’s going on over there.”

After a thrilling run to the Division IV semifinals last year in the playoffs, the Monarchs couldn’t catch a break this year as a difficult schedule and injuries paved the way to an 0-7 start. As practice began this week, Doroski told the players that nothing else matters from this point as they prepared to try to win their final game.

“For the seniors that would be something they remember,” Doroski said.

Instead, they’ll be packing their bags.

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10/15/13 6:37pm
10/15/2013 6:37 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy wide receiver/defensive back Ian Rogers is lost for the rest of the season after suffering his second concussion on Saturday.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy wide receiver/defensive back Ian Rogers is lost for the rest of the season after suffering his second concussion on Saturday.

Anyone looking for an explanation to the result of the Mount Sinai football team’s 38-0 pounding of Bishop McGann-Mercy on Saturday need not look far.

“They’re very good,” McGann-Mercy coach Jeff Doroski said. “We’re struggling. And we’re not very good.”

Call it the imperfect storm.

Mount Sinai (4-1) lived up to its second-place standing in Suffolk County Division IV, and McGann-Mercy’s misery continues. The Monarchs fell to 0-5. They sit in 14th place — last place.

Adding injuries to insult, the Monarchs saw two of their starters go down. Wide receiver/defensive back Ian Rogers is out for the rest of the season after having suffered his second concussion. Defensive back Paul Annunziata suffered a severe ankle sprain. He will not be available for the team’s next game on Saturday against East Hampton/Bridgehampton, but will perhaps ready to return the following week against Babylon, said Doroski.

The Monarchs are a battered, bruised group, struggling through a season that has taken a toll, both physically and mentally.

“It’s been tough,” Doroski said. “It’s obviously not where we wanted to be or where we expected to be. We knew we were going to have a tough schedule this year. We knew what we were in for.”

In addition to running for 69 yards on 17 carries, Reggie Archer made 6 tackles for McGann-Mercy. Pat Marelli made 7 tackles, and Andrew Glasgow had 5. All in all, though, it was a rough afternoon in Riverhead for the Monarchs.

Asked if any good came out of the game for his team, Doroski laughed and then answered, “It’s over.” He added, “I think it’s an eye-opener for some of the younger guys for what is required to play at this level.”

If any of his players were under any illusion, Doroski wasn’t. He knew what the Monarchs were up against this year, with a demanding schedule that includes four of the division’s tougher teams: Babylon, Mount Sinai, Shoreham-Wading River and Elwood/John Glenn.

“I’ve been around this division long enough to know that when you’re facing those top four teams, you have to be physically prepared,” Doroski said.

The Monarchs are heading into their final home game on Saturday. Doroski’s message to his players is to keep plugging away.

“We still have to come out and work hard to get better,” he said. “There’s a lot of room for improvement. Some of the younger guys are going to be here for another year or two years. Our kids do work hard. I just think we’re a little bit overmatched this year.”

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10/02/13 5:00pm
10/02/2013 5:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | McGann-Mercy sophomore KJ Santacroce intercepts a pass Saturday against Wyandanch.

In the wake of a disappointing loss Saturday, McGann-Mercy coach Jeff Doroski issued his players a challenge. As the Monarchs fell to 0-3 — the prospects of a return playoff appearance fading farther away — Doroski knows it would be easy for the commitment level to begin slipping.

“It’s real easy this time of the year to say ‘Hey coach, I got to go to extra help, I’m not going to be at practice,’ or ‘Hey coach, my mom needs help at home,’ ” Doroski said. “Those are the things that start to creep in when your season isn’t going well.”

Doroski’s challenge to his players: “Don’t be that guy.”

The Monarchs lost 28-20 to Wyandanch Saturday on homecoming, a tough defeat for a team that reached the semifinals of the Division IV playoffs last year. The Warriors, winless in their first two games, were the lowest-seeded team in the division coming into this year.

The road doesn’t get any easier for Mercy. Games against two of the perennial powers of the division are next: John Glenn Saturday and Mount Sinai Oct. 12. Both games are at home.

“We’ll keep coming to work and trying to get better every day,” Doroski said. “I told the guys, you got the better half of the season left and it doesn’t get any easier. We’re going to see what kind of character our kids are made up of in the next couple weeks.”

Whereas last year things always seemed to break the Monarchs’ way, things have taken a turn for the worse this year. Penalties and turnovers have piled up and the Monarchs haven’t found another threat offensively in addition to running back Reggie Archer. He scored all three touchdowns for Mercy against the Warriors and tallied 123 yards on 22 carries.

Doroski said quarterback KJ Santacroce did a good job throwing the ball, but the receiving corps hasn’t been able to come up with big plays. Junior Andrew Glasgow was a bright spot with four receptions for 42 yards, Doroski said. Glasgow also had six tackles and a sack on defense.

Mercy went ahead 20-14 early in the third quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, the Monarchs tried an onside kick to catch the Warriors by surprise. The Warriors pounced on it and converted the short field into a touchdown to tie the game. On Mercy’s next possession, the Monarchs fumbled, giving the ball back to Wyandanch around the 30-yard line. The Warriors punched it in to take the lead and the score remained that way over the final quarter.

Doroski said a bright spot on defense was Patrick Rossi, who led the team with eight tackles and a sack.

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09/11/13 5:00pm
09/11/2013 5:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | McGann-Mercy junior Reggie Archer returns in the backfield for the Monarchs after a 1,000-yard rushing season a year ago.

As the final countdown toward opening day ticks closer, Bishop McGann-Mercy coach Jeff Doroski is still trying to get a feel for what this year’s team identity will look like.

After their most successful season in two decades last year, the Monarchs return several key players while also mixing in some new faces. No longer the underdog, it’ll be a different vibe for Mercy this year.

“This is a different group,” Doroski said. “They’re a little quieter. I don’t have those ‘rah-rah,’ energy-type guys.”

In preparation for Thursday afternoon’s Division IV season opener at Shoreham-Wading River, the Monarchs competed in a five-way scrimmage last week in East Hampton and a game scrimmage against Bayport-Blue Point. Results were understandably mixed. Turnovers and penalties piled up, but the players came out and competed physically, Doroski said.

Offensively the Monarchs return 1,000-yard rusher Reggie Archer, a junior who will be featured prominently once again in the running game. Doroski said Archer has bulked up some from last year after putting in a lot of work in the offseason.

“I always give him a hard time because I think he looks slow, but he separates himself in practices and scrimmages and he has a little breakaway speed,” Doroski said.

Senior Paul Annunziata returns in the backfield and will receive some carries along with Archer. Doroski said Annunziata is a good change-of-pace runner who has looked strong in scrimmages.

Senior Luis Cintron will start at fullback and will try to clear some of the paths for the other backs.

At quarterback the Monarchs are handing the ball to a sophomore in KJ Santacroce. Asaiah Wilson, who started as a junior last year, transferred out of Mercy, opening the door for Santacroce.

Doroski said Santacroce gives the offense a different feel from last year, when Wilson was more of a threat with his legs.

“He throws the ball real well and I think that will add something to our offense that we didn’t have last year on a consistent basis, which was short passing game and our play-action stuff,” Doroski said.

Santacroce is listed at 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, and Doroski said he looks “more like a junior or senior.” As a freshman last year Santacroce led the junior varsity team to a 4-4 record.

“He’s going to come up [to varsity] and slide right in,” Doroski said.

At receiver the Monarchs feature junior Leo Ellis, sophomore Marco Sciarra, who’s listed at 6-1, junior Ian Rogers and senior Jimmy Haynal.

Doroski said Ellis has the best hands as a receiver that the team has had in a few years. Sciarra came up as a freshman last year and has good speed, Doroski said.

Haynal, who played soccer last year, will likely miss the first week as he recovers from a concussion, Doroski said.

On the offensive line the Monarchs return seniors Pat Marelli and Colin Ratsey. Senior Patrick Rossi, who played linebacker last year, will move up to the tackle position. Juniors Andrew Glasgow and Kenny Berman will round out the line.

Nearly every starter on offense will be asked to play on defense as well.

“We still play ironman football,” Doroski said.

Marelli, last year’s leading tackler with 76, will anchor the defense at inside linebacker. Archer, a defensive back last year, will move to an outside linebacker. Cintron will also play an outside linebacker and Rossi will be an inside linebacker.

Ratsey and Glasgow will start at defensive end.

In the secondary the Monarchs have a number of different players who can slide in depending on the matchups, Doroski said.

As the No. 6 seed in Division IV this year, the Monarchs will face a challenging schedule that includes games against Shoreham, Mount Sinai and Babylon.

“We’re excited, the kids are excited, the coaching staff is excited,” Doroski said. “We want to continue to move forward with our program. This year presents a challenge just because of the success we had last year and where we got seeded.”

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